Cranbrook, BC (September 10, 2021) -- Following up on the public statement issued on Wednesday, September 8 around the relocation of the beavers at Idlewild Lake, it is important that we answer several of the great questions that our residents and park visitors have shared with us. Damage to the newly planted trees around the lake is only one of several reasons why they will be relocated.
Idlewild is the City’s former reservoir, which was developed into a park. The reservoir is not a traditional, natural habitat for beavers – the beavers are a very recent arrival.
The current habitat in the reservoir at Idlewild and immediately upstream is not ideal for providing enough sustainable food sources for the beavers. Any currently stockpiled food would not be enough for the beavers to survive once the lake freezes. Relocating them to a more appropriate water body, one that does not freeze, with ample food sources will better ensure that they will survive the winter as they can access food all winter.
This is critical information which has been shared with us by the experienced trapper we have contracted to help with the relocation, along with local wildlife biologists and the Conservation Officer Service through the Ministry of Forests, Land, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD).
Another important consideration is that fallen trees can easily interfere with the Idlewild Dam bypass structure and affect the safe operations of the gate and spillway. The beaver dam which has been constructed can also create flooding issues of susceptible properties upstream.
We understand the positive draw these industrious creatures created around Idlewild, providing a wonderful venue for people to see nature at work up close. But to reduce the risk of flooding upstream, ensure the continued safe operation of our dam infrastructure, while ensuring the long-term well-being of the beavers, the relocation must be done.